For model-year 2020, a High Performance Package will be available on Ford’s turbocharged EcoBoost Mustang. Economy-minded drivers that want more power and better handling, your steed will soon arrive.
At the heart of this options group, which replaces the EcoBoost Performance Pack, is essentially the same 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine found under the hood of the hilariously fun Focus RS. Major components like the block and head are identical. Serving equine duty, it delivers 330 horsepower with 350 pound-feet of torque. That’s the same amount of twist, but 20 fewer ponies than what the RS brandishes. Still, it’s a welcome upgrade over the stock 2019 EcoBoost Mustang’s rating of 310.
But it’s not just peak numbers that count, even if they look good on paper. What matters most is having a usable powerband, maximizing the area under the curve on the dyno chart.
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“Our main goal is, we wanted to carry 90 percent of peak horsepower to 6,500 [rpm],” explained Carl Widmann, chief engineer for Ford Performance and the Mustang. He added, “And then the other one was we wanted no tradeoff in torque. And in fact, we wanted to build torque.”
These considerations played into the sizing of this powerplant’s turbocharger and how everything was tuned. Engineers reworked a few key components so it would fit in a rear-wheel-drive application, plus they installed a larger radiator and a blower with a 5 percent-bigger compressor wheel. One significant advantage the Focus RS has is the size of its intercooler. Widmann said it’s “massive” while spreading his arms out wide. Mustang makes do with a much smaller unit.
“So, sometimes when you do a motor that you want peak horsepower higher, you’ll trade torque,” said Widmann. Not so with the High Performance Package. Comparing the horsepower curves between it and a stock EcoBoost Mustang engine he noted, “At about 3,000 rpm they diverge and then the area just keeps getting bigger,” meaning the upgraded engine can deliver much faster acceleration even if its output figures aren’t’ significantly greater. Again, it’s all about usable power.
With this high-performance engine, 90 percent of peak torque is available between 2,500 and 5,300 rpm, a 40 percent increase over the base unit, all with more horsepower straight up to its 6,500-rpm redline.
Further helping deliver these gains is a standard active exhaust system with quad outlets. Drivers can select how loud they want their car to sound, from commute-to-work-on-Monday hushed, to track-day raucous.
Drivers can expect a High Performance Package-equipped EcoBoost Mustang to reach 60 miles an hour in the mid-four-second range. For context, GT model can do the same deed in less than three. In simple terms, this car splits the difference nicely between a base Mustang and the GT. Overall, these cars should be around 200 pounds lighter than their eight-cylinder brethren, with 150 of those pounds taken away from the front end.
Top speed has increased by 34 miles an hour over a base model, topping out at 155. As a bonus, these figures come with practically no fuel-economy detriment. Final figures aren’t in just yet, but the EPA rating should be very similar to the standard model’s fuel-burn rate.
Maximizing driver choice, the High Performance Package is available on every model in the EcoBoost range, on both fastback and convertible Mustangs. This means you can even you can even get it on a stripped-down base car with cloth seats. Yes, a six-speed manual transmission is available, as is a 10-ratio automatic.
Helping rein in all that speed are other vehicle upgrades. This package also includes an aluminum strut-tower brace, summer tires and even Mustang GT brakes. That last item translates to four-piston front calipers clamping down on 13.9-inch rotors. As for stabilizer bars, they’re both tubular, with the forward one measuring 32 millimeters in diameter; the rear specimen spans 21.7 millimeters. A 3.55-ratio limited-slip rear differential is included as well for enhanced acceleration and traction.
For even greater performance, fastback models can optionally be fitted with a handling package. It includes semi-metallic brakes, adjustable MagnaRide dampers, wider 19-inch wheels wrapped in aggressive Pirelli P Zero Corsa4 tires and reworked stabilizer bars. The front one grows to 33.3 millimeters in diameter, while the rear goes solid and measures 24 in cross-section.
This optional High Performance Package for the 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost goes on sale this fall. Pricing has not been released, though it should cost less than a GT model equipped with the available Performance Pack. They start at about $40,000.
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